When a gunman killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, last year in the Atlanta spa shootings, Zora Bowens called her best friend Ceena Vang to check in on how she was feeling. Though Zora also began to notice a pattern in the nation’s latest mass shooting events: instances of violence escalating to mass murder. Feeling called to act and denounce these forms of racism against Asian Americans, Bowens and Vang created the activist organization Whenever We’re Needed and began holding rallies around Southeast Michigan.

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Whenever We're Needed Founders

Ceena Vang, left, and Zora Bownes, right, stand up and speak through megaphones at a rally hosted by their activist organization Whenever We’re Needed.

Now, one year after the Atlanta spa shootings, One Detroit’s Zosette Guir and WDET’s Digital Editor, Dorothy Hernandez, sit down with the activist duo as they reflect on the first rally they held and the impact they’ve had on the community. Plus, they express what it means to be creating and carrying on a legacy of activism together.

This story was created in partnership with WDET Radio for our collaborative AAPI Story Series. You can check out the series here.


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